Ullens Center for Contemporary Art announces Curated by Wang Xingwei. Specificity

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art presents Curated by Wang Xingwei. Specificity, on view through Aug 30th 2012. Selected artists include: Liu Weijian, Wang Xingjie, Wen Ling, Xia Guanglong, Zhan Yingxiang, Zhang Shujian, and Zhang Wuyun. In the final installment of the long- running “Curated By…” exhibition series, the work of these seven young artists, selected by one of China’s most interesting and intelligent painters, is showcased together for the first time.

Zhang Shujian, Arhat, oil on wood, 45 x 55 cm. 2011

Wang Xingwei, whose own major retrospective will open at UCCA in spring 2013, has assembled a group exhibition of seven artists whose works address, from different perspectives, the fraught relationship between (realist) painting and the reality it is tasked with depicting. Many of the artists hail from Wang’s home region in northeast China, and he has identified four thematic approaches visible in the exhibition, which he describes as “the elimination of ranking, irreplaceability, an unknown condition, and a sense of reality.”

From a generation and background sympathetic to the discovery of painting as an awakening, Wang Xingwei draws together a shared acuity of observation, where time is captive and individual experience paramount. The artists, born between 1969 and 1987, include figures such as Wen Ling, known for his underground pen-on-paper comics and DIY publications and Wang Xingjie, the curator’s younger brother, alongside several painters who have never before shown in a museum setting.

Together the works express moments of clarity and confusion, exploring the balance between concrete and impermanent in a rapidly shifting world – a dichotomy described by Zhan Yingxiang as ‘instants of illogical estrangement, vivid moments of clarity’. In the fifteenth and final instantiation of the “Curated By…”exhibition program, this show sees the most artists ever represented together in the series, as well as a curatorial approach that balances both collective voice and a diversity of perspectives from a shared locale.

The exhibition is accompanied by an eponymous new book by writer and LEAP senior editor Guo Juan. Published by UCCA Books, it includes an extended essay on each of the seven participating artists. In the same spirit of exploring the relationship between depiction and reality as the exhibition itself, these essays look at the daily lives and situations of the artists as deep background for their creative endeavors. Based on extensive on-site research, Guo Juan’s essayistic portraits form a compelling document of individual lives and works.


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